I remember the day when the full realization of my advanced age dawned
upon me. It was not unlike the day, not long after my first daughter’s birth, when
I looked in the mirror and was astounded to see my own face. My identity had
been permanently supplanted…
Now I am at the jumping-off place, to be sure. Like an old shirt hanging on
the clothesline, I am waiting for a) someone to eventually come along and
remove the clothespins and free me or b) a good wind to decide matters for me.
I’m actually excited to see new wrinkles because at some point, I am going
to be so old that I will have outlived my competitors for acting roles and I will be
one of the few old ladies left with acting training/experience.
I think that there should be books advising elderly women on how we have
it made. I might write the very first one. We have indeed reached the golden
years! The freedom! The sympathy! The favors! We should not spend these
years simply waiting at home until our parts fall off/drop out/settle or drop
off/dwindle/and start rolling away.
I will begin by imparting some tips on how to not get speeding tickets. I
have not received a speeding ticket in years. This is what you do: Whenever
you see a police officer and you think he has clocked you barreling down the
road at least twenty miles over the speed limit, do not panic. But do slow your
pace, turn down the music, hunker over the steering wheel, and peer through it.
Make yourself as shrunken as possible. A frequent head twitch will help, too.
You’ll find out that you’re just not worth the pursuit, not to mention the guilt that
the officer will face afterwards. Once safely out of sight/hearing, you can blast
the rap music again, sit up straight, dangle your hand out of the window, and
continue on your way.
When you are of advanced age, you don’t have to obey the arrows on the
pavement. You can go the wrong way; just assume the “elderly” pose at the
wheel, and when you meet traffic headed in the correct direction, appear
confused and pantomime sorrow. But you are not sorry. Not in the least. You
are just driving, and parking, creatively. Nothing wrong with that.
When you want special assistance on the phone, make your voice quaver
and appear to be hesitant and helpless. You will be able to bypass much
bureaucracy and your requests will be hastened along; problems will be solved
without you having to expend any energy. You “don’t know how to use a
computer,” give me a break. As soon as you hang up, you will immediately
return to your online shopping! You will have more time now that someone else
has taken over your problems…
Shuffling when you walk helps, too. Peer doubtfully at the ground as you
use crosswalks. Be especially cautious when encountering cracks in asphalt. No
one has to know that you’re playing, “Step on a crack…” No one would guess.
And clutch at your purse. Wave slowly and pathetically when cars stop; hurry,
limping, (or for special emphasis, drag a leg) as you cross in front of them and
gesture piteously again. Being played like this, people will cry out, “Don’t hurry;
it’s okay!” At times like this, you feel like you are the luckiest creature on the
planet – to have reached an age where you live perpetually in a land of milk and
honey. The kindness of human nature overflows upon you!
While you enthusiastically inhabit this guise of a crippled old woman, no
one will ever allow you to replace a shopping cart. And if you appear to struggle
when loading the groceries into the trunk of your car, don’t worry, someone will
help you. Even members of your own sex, albeit much younger, will assist you.
You will notice a sisterhood, much stronger than the one that bonds
younger women, that claims elderly women when we happen to pass each
other. We share a secret. See, we have figured it out; we are not helpless – we
Your mind will forever acknowledge you as only 17 years old. However, the
age range of people who are attractive to you will span the years from, say, 18 to
95 and even beyond in certain cases.
I hope I have enlightened you, my readers, on how to have fun with your
age. See – all those acting classes did pay off!